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  • Writer's pictureHannah McQuilkan

Avalon calling

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

Avalon holds its own as a mythic place linked to Arthurian Legend and the Holy Grail. Most people have heard of it, often from reading or hearing about the famous book ‘Mists of Avalon’ by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The spiritual depths of this place go far beyond mainstream understanding however and today I will introduce you to the power and magic of Avalon and how it is a central part of reclaiming a meaningful relationship to the spirituality of our Celtic ancestors.

Avalon derives its name from the Celtic word meaning ‘apples’ and is known as the Isle of Apples. Avalon might be compared to Shambhala in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition or Nirvana in the Hindu tradition. A timeless and blissful place of youth, beauty, abundance and ease, free from the suffering and struggles of ordinary life.

The first time we hear of this ‘place of apples’ is in the books of the twelfth century cleric, Geoffrey of Monmouth, who came upon an ancient Welsh text which he used to create a semi-mythical historical drama featuring King Arthur, Merlin, Morgan and other heroes. Here he describes the Isle of Apples:

“...from the fact that it produces all manner of plants spontaneously. It needs no farmers to plough the fields. There is no cultivation of the land at all beyond that which is Nature’s work. It produces crops in abundance and grapes without help; and apple trees spring up from the short grass in its woods. All plants, not merely grass alone, grow spontaneously; and men live a hundred years or more.”

To connect to Avalon is to connect with the spiritual legacy of your ancestors, to find the magic in everyday life, to bridge the gap between this world and the otherworld and to call forth and activate the Divine Feminine within yourself and the world.

Avalon is the name of the magical unseen realm, associated with many physical places such as in the Mediterranean, the Far East, India and Sicily. The place most often associated with it however and the place that feels true for me, is the town Glastonbury in the UK.

One could say that Glastonbury is the physical container of the spiritual dimension that is Avalon. Glastonbury is a sacred place, a site of continual worship since Neolithic times, right up until the present day. It was the site of a Druid school of learning and as legend has it where King Arthur was buried. It also thought to be the site of the first Christian Church in the UK, founded by Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus’s Uncle. More recently it is home to the first Goddess Temple on British soil in more than 1500 years.

Glastonbury’s landscape is filled with sacred sites, including the mysterious Tor, a hill with a labyrinth of paths carved into the sides, topped with the remains of St Michaels Tower. Apple orchards, two holy springs and Wearyall Hill, where Joseph of Arimathea was said to have planted a holy thorn tree. The town of Glastonbury and surrounds holds a quality of deep sacred feminine energy that is still palpable under the hustle of a modern town. Glastonbury was once an island, before the Roman reclaimed the land from the sea. This is why is still thought of as an island to this day and was known to the Celts as Ynys-witrin, a Welsh name meaning the ‘Isle of Glass.’ The first time I visited was in 2008, with few expectations and yet I couldn’t deny the presence of a divine force, sacred, feminine, ancient and luminous.

Since that first visit in 2007 my connection to Avalon has only grown stronger and the path my life has taken is undeniably linked this this place. In 2004 I received a painting from a spiritual mentor which she channeled for me. She called her paintings ‘Doorways’ as they were portals into other realms and dimensions.. During my last trip to Glastonbury in 2019 I realised that this painting is of Avalon and has been guiding my journey since I received it. I also discovered after returning home that I have ancestors who were from Glastonbury, yet another reason why this place feels so potent for me!

The spiritual dimension of Avalon can be invoked no matter where you are in the world and indeed there are many temples and holy places linked to Avalon around the world. I set up the Temple of the Rose from my home/Wellness Centre in Point Chevalier, Auckland and many people who visit this space can feel the ancient energy that it is connected to.

I have been called to offer a workshop series centred around Avalon which will begin on August 10th and run for 5 weeks. During this time we will connect with the energy of Avalon, anchor into our hearts and minds, learn about the powerful guardians who watch over this place and start to develop an understanding of the Celtic Medicine Wheel and how this can be used in your life. I will guide you through meditations, ritual and vision journeys I hope you can join me! Click here for more information.

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